Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate voted 70 to 30 on Wednesday afternoon to confirm Merrick Garland as Attorney General of the United States.
President Joe Biden’s nominee to head up the U.S. Department of Justice even got a vote from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who actively worked to block former President Barak Obama’s nomination of Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court five years earlier, Business Insider reported.
Garland was nominated to replace late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 but the GOP-majority Senate at the time refused to advance his nomination, claiming the privilege belonged to whomever was ultimately elected, CNBC reported.
The new Attorney General is a 24-year veteran of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and enjoyed broad bipartisan support during his confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
The long-time appellate judge promised ahead of his confirmation to make the investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot his number one priority, CNBC reported.
It will be up to Garland to determine whether former President Donald Trump should face any charges of criminal wrongdoing in connection with the riot, CNN reported.
Garland has also pledged to restore and defend the independence of the DoJ.
“The President made abundantly clear in every public statement before and after my nomination that decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department,” he said. “That was the reason that I was willing to take on this job.”
President Biden has also promised to restore the traditional distance between the DoJ and White House officials, CNBC reported.
“I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations,” Garland testified at his confirmation hearing.
He swore that he and President Biden had not discussed the ongoing investigation into the President’s son, Hunter Biden, according to CNBC.
It will be up to Garland’s DoJ to determine how to handle that federal probe.
McConnell said he supported Garland’s Attorney General nomination “because of his long reputation as a straight-shooter and legal expert” whose “left-of-center perspective” falls within “the legal mainstream,” CNN reported.
“When confirmed, Judge Garland must not back other constitutionally-corrosive efforts to effectively repeal laws just by ignoring them,” McConnell said.
Before he became a judge, Garland led the DoJ’s investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, CNN reported.
He testified at his confirmation hearing that the threat from white supremacists is more dangerous now than it was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Garland submitted his resignation to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals shortly after he was confirmed on March 10, CNN reported.